Clayton Kershaw Rumors

NL West Notes: Kershaw, Rockies’ Opening, Dodgers

The San Francisco Giants have the opportunity this evening to give the National League its third consecutive World Series win, the Senior Circuit's longest such streak in three decades. If Game Four starter Matt Cain wins tonight, he will become only the third pitcher in MLB history to record three series clinching victories in one post-season. As the Giants try to bring the Commissioner's Trophy to the NL West for the second time in three years, here's the latest from that division:

  • Major League Baseball presented Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw with the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who most embodies the humanitarian vision of the late Pirates star, prior to the start of Game 4 of the World Series, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • The Rockies have expressed interested in interviewing Giants bench coach Ron Wotus for their managerial opening, reports the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders. Saunders also confirmed Matt Williams, the Diamondbacks' third base coach, is the sixth candidate to be interviewed joining Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells, Jason Giambi, former Rockies shortstop Walt Weiss, ex-White Sox and Mets manager Jerry Manuel, and former Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin.
  • Weiss would be an inspired choice to become the Rockies next manager, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Weiss was universally respected for his knowledge and work ethic by his teammates and he knows the Rockies' culture, having played for the team and worked as a special assistant for general manager Dan O'Dowd, opined Renck. 
  • Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, in his World Series column for the Los Angeles Times, understands the logic of those who believe it is difficult for teams in Southern California to win the World Series because of the cold weather conditions in October.
  • MLB is in discussions about the possibility of starting its 2014 season in Australia, reports Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. A MLB spokesman said the possibility of playing in Australia is not currently being explored. Dilbeck also referenced a report in the Sydney Morning Herald where the preference of the Australian promoters is a series between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks in Sydney.
  • Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson, told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times she will be joining the Dodgers' board of directors representing her family and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. A Dodgers official said the team is finalizing an agreement with the Robinson family but declined to comment publicly in advance of an announcement.

Daniel Seco contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Baker, Hunter, Kershaw, LaRoche

Congratulations to Miguel Cabrera, who was named the Sporting News MLB Player of the Year. Here are some more links from around MLB on an off day for Cabrera's Tigers and the NL Champion Giants

  • The Twins will decline Scott Baker's $9.25MM option for 2013, but he remains a "high priority" for the team, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN reports. Baker's agent has been speaking regularly with the Twins and the sides could agree to an incentive-laden one or two-year deal. 
  • The Twins haven't yet called to inquire about minor league free agent Aaron Laffey, according to Wolfson.
  • Teams are standing by to see if the Angels make Torii Hunter a one-year qualifying offer, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (Twitter link). If the Angels make Hunter a qualifying offer and he declines, other teams will have to surrender a draft pick to sign the outfielder. Otherwise, he'll be coveted as a free agent. Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com suggested today that the Angels won't extend Hunter a qualifying offer (Twitter link).
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said he will probably think about a long-term contract for Clayton Kershaw this coming offseason, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports (on Twitter). The left-hander's under contract for 2013 and under team control as an arbitration eligible player through 2014.
  • The Nationals and Adam LaRoche have made “some progress” toward a new contract, the first baseman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. There’s nothing definitive at this stage, but the sides have started to establish parameters for a possible new deal.

Dodgers Notes: Kershaw, League, Ramirez, Cruz

Good news for Dodgers fans as General Manager Ned Colletti confirmed that Clayton Kershaw will not require surgery on his right hip, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  Here's more on what Colletti had to say to reporters with all links going to Hernandez's Twitter..

  • The Dodgers will make a strong effort to re-sign their relievers, including free agent Brandon League (Twitter link).  The former Mariner told reporters yesterday that he has informed the Dodgers that he hopes to return.
  • At this point in time, Colletti is leaning towards Hanley Ramirez playing shortstop in 2013, Hernandez tweets.
  • Meanwhile, the club is heading into the offseason with the idea that Luis Cruz can be the Dodgers' third baseman in 2013 (Twitter link).  Cruz, 28, hit .297/.322/.431 with six homers in 78 games for the Dodgers in 2012.  It would make sense for the Dodgers to look in-house for an answer at third with limited options at the position on the open market this winter.
  • Colletti was asked if Juan Uribe has a place on the team in 2013 and the GM responded "We'll have to see," (Twitter link).  To part ways with Uribe, the Dodgers will have to eat the $10.3MM remaining on his deal.


Four Agents Join Excel Sports Management

Four MLB agents are joining Excel Sports Management, the firm owned by baseball agent Casey Close and two others, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports (Twitter link, subscription required). J.D. Smart, Jim Murray and Matt Laird from Hendricks Sports Management and David O’Hagan from CAA Sports are joining Excel Sports Management, Close confirmed to Mullen. 

It’s not clear if the agents are bringing their former clients with them. Smart has been representing Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw.

Derek Jeter, Jason Heyward and Alex Gordon are among the players represented by Excel Sports Management, as MLBTR's Agency Database shows. NBA agent Jeff Schwartz golf agent Mark Steinberg and Close own the agency.


Kershaw Open To Talking Extension

The Dodgers have spent aggressively to acquire players from other organizations this summer, but at some point in the coming months they could turn their attention to a player they drafted and developed themselves: reigning Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he would consider a long-term extension if the Dodgers wish to discuss one. 

"Yeah, sure, I'm always open to talks," Kershaw said. "I've had a great time here. I love the guys and I love everything about L.A."

Last offseason the sides agreed to a two-year, $19MM deal that covers Kershaw’s first two arbitration seasons (2012-13). They discussed the possibility of a four-year deal with a fifth year option before settling on two years, according to Hernandez.  The 24-year-old Hendricks Sports client will be eligible for arbitration one more time following the 2013 season and eligible for free agency following the 2014 season.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said in May that he doesn’t intend to negotiate a longer deal with Kershaw during the regular season. Since then, the Dodgers have spent more than $430MM in player acquisitions, Hernandez writes. It won’t be surprising if Guggenheim Baseball Management, the team’s new ownership group, works aggressively to keep Kershaw in place long-term.

Kershaw has followed up his Cy Young season with a similarly dominant year. He leads National League pitchers with 186 2/3 innings, 183 strikeouts and two shutouts. His ERA has risen but remains under 3.00 at 2.84 and he continues to limit walks (2.1 BB/9). At this point in Kershaw’s career, he seems well-positioned to obtain a contract worth in excess of $100MM.


Rosenthal On Greinke, Hamels, Kershaw

In the latest Hot Corner video, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal gives his take on three of baseball's top aces…

  • The likelihood of Zack Greinke being dealt "probably is growing," though the Brewers are still on the fringes on the NL Central race.  Rosenthal doesn't think the Brewers will be able to afford re-signing Greinke this winter and their best-case scenario if they do trade him would be to bring back a big prospect, as the Mets did last summer when they acquired Zack Wheeler from the Giants in exchange for Carlos Beltran.
  • Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay won't be back until after the All-Star break and Chase Utley just made his season debut, so Rosenthal says the Phillies might "wait until the last minute, perhaps" to decide whether they'll be buyers or sellers at the trade deadlineCole Hamels and Shane Victorino, both pending free agents, would be Philly's biggest trade chips if the team did decide to look ahead to 2013.
  • There is "no urgency" for the Dodgers to pursue a longer contract extension with Clayton Kershaw.  The two sides already agreed to a two-year, $19MM deal in February and Kershaw isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2014 campaign.  Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said last month that the team wasn't going to negotiate a longer deal with Kershaw during the season.  Rosenthal notes that while the Dodgers may re-open talks in the offseason, it can't hurt to exercise a bit more caution when locking up pitchers, noting that the Giants are probably thankful they didn't extend Tim Lincecum last winter given Lincecum's struggles.

No In-Season Talks For Kershaw, Dodgers

The Dodgers don’t have plans to discuss a long-term contract extension with defending NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw — at least for now. GM Ned Colletti told Bill Shaikin of the LA Times that "nothing will happen” during the season (Twitter link).

Kershaw recently signed a two-year, $19MM deal that covers his first two arbitration seasons (2012-13). The 24-year-old Hendricks Sports client will be eligible for arbitration one more time following the 2013 season and eligible for free agency following the 2014 season. Guggenheim Baseball Management recently gained control of the Dodgers and may look to extend the left-hander’s stay in Los Angeles with a long-term extension. Kershaw figures to set ask for a $100MM contract if he has another strong season.


Los Angeles Links: Kershaw, Fielder, Cantu, Phillies

At least one of the five groups bidding to buy the Dodgers has asked about the possibility of selling the naming rights to Dodger Stadium, reports Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.  Naming rights are commonplace in sports, but as Shaikin notes in his piece, it would be a poor PR move for a new owner to immediately change the name of one of baseball's most historic parks.

Here are a few more items from both the Dodgers and the Angels…

  • Clayton Kershaw was "less than thrilled" about making just $500K last season, which may be part of the reason the Dodgers signed their ace to a two-year, $19MM deal, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  The Dodgers wanted to sign Kershaw to a four-year extension that would have covered the southpaw's first free agent season.
  • Heyman also calls Matt Kemp's eight-year contract extension with the team "possibly the best financial move anyone made this winter."
  • The Dodgers made an offer to Prince Fielder at the Winter Meetings for a four-year contract worth an average annual value of less than that of Alex Rodriguez, Ned Colletti tells Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link).  Rodriguez earns an AAV of $27.5MM on his current Yankees contract but one would think that L.A.'s offer couldn't have been much lower than that, given that they were just offering four years.
  • Also from Bowden (via Twitter), Fielder's agent Scott Boras said Colletti's recruiting meeting with Fielder was the best he's seen in 30 years.
  • Jorge Cantu hopes to be traded to a team with corner infield needs if he can't make the Angels' roster, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.  Cantu has the option of opting out of his contract with L.A. if he's in the minors on May 1.  He has also considered taking "a couple of months off this summer" as his girlfriend is due to give birth to their first child in June. 
  • If the Angels were to offer one of their backup infielders (Alberto Callaspo or Maicer Izturis) to the Phillies, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez speculates that the Halos could look for Kyle Kendrick or Joe Blanton back in such a trade.  In Blanton's case, the Phils would have to cover a big chunk of his $8.5MM salary for this season.
  • Earlier today we covered the hot-stove highlights of Arte Moreno's recent interview with GQ.

Dodgers Notes: Ownership, Kemp, Kershaw

To nobody's surprise, Vin Scully topped a recent Fangraphs poll that asked readers to rate each club's TV broadcast crew.  As Fangraphs' Carson Cistulli put it, "Vin Scully has been an excellent broadcaster since that time in our nation’s history when men wore fedoras unironically."  2012 will mark Scully's 63rd season calling Dodgers baseball.

Some more news about L.A.'s blue team…

  • Jared Kushner has dropped his bid to buy the Dodgers, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  Kushner, the owner and publisher of the New York Observer, withdrew despite an invitation to either restructure his bid or to join another of the seven remaining groups vying to buy the club from Frank McCourt.
  • Matt Kemp had no problems looking past the Dodgers' ownership issues to sign his long-term extension with the team, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.  "This is where I wanted to be," Kemp said. "It happened kind of fast. They started talking about the numbers, and, 'Oh my God, for real?' It was kind of cool. It was a fun process, but I also had to ask myself, 'Am I really in this position right now?' All I could think about was being a sixth-round pick, not sure if I even wanted to play baseball, and now I was getting a long-term deal. For me it was a dream."
  • Also from Gurnick's piece, Clayton Kershaw said his recent two-year extension "was just the terms and the years," and had nothing to do with any concerns about the ownership sale.  "As far as I'm concerned, I can play baseball for two years, and I'm good with that," Kershaw said.  "You've just got to perform no matter what the contract is."  Kershaw's two-year contract means he will still be eliglble for arbitration following the 2013 season and free agency after 2014.
  • You can keep up with all of MLBTR's Dodgers coverage on our Dodger-centric Facebook and RSS pages, and by following us on Twitter at @mlbtrdodgers.

Quick Hits: Kershaw, Moreno, Cespedes, Joyce

Here are a few items from around the Majors as we head into Sunday…

  • The first priority for the new Dodgers owner should be to sign Clayton Kershaw to a long-term extension, says ESPN's Buster Olney in a video blog.  Kershaw's recent two-year contract only covers his first two arbitration years, putting him on track for free agency (at age 26) after the 2014 season.  "The entire landscape of baseball would be all over Kershaw as a free agent," says Olney, who believes the Dodgers should offer Kershaw something akin to a five-year, $100-120MM deal to lock him up.
  • Arte Moreno expects the Angels to be "a highly competitive team" and discussed several other topics about the upcoming season with MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
  • As part of a piece about the risks of signing Yoenis Cespedes, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald explores how other heavily-hyped Cuban stars have been the victim of high expectations in the Major Leagues.
  • Rays outfielder Matt Joyce has changed agents and is now represented by the ACES firm, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.  Joyce, a possible extension candidate, will be arbitration-eligible for the first time next winter and is under team control through 2015.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera's arbitration-avoiding deal with the Indians prompted Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer to examine the possibility of signing Cabrera to a multiyear deal.  Last month, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes looked at what a Cabrera extension could cost the Tribe.
  • From that same piece, Hoynes says that the Indians' lack of guaranteed contracts past 2012 is probably not a sign that the Dolan family is "streamlining the franchise" as a prelude to a possible sale of the club.
  • Four of top seven prospects in the Athletics' system came via the Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez trades, writes MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.